Sunday, May 27, 2007

Beloved Stories of My Childhood

I finished another book today, a feat I've not accomplished in several years. I read the sequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry called Let the Circle Be Unbroken. Powerful storylines that left me wanting more. The third book in the trilogy, The Road to Memphis, sits in my lap waiting to be opened.

My parents both love reading, so I was exposed to words from day one. Mom or Dad would sit me on their lap, and they'd point to each word as they read it. Nothing fancy, no lessons in phonics or anything else, just learning letters and words one at a time. I was either at or slightly above my reading level until fourth grade. Whether I had a fantastic teacher (which I did), or if it was just my time... I started reading in earnest.

About this time, my dad started taking my sister and me to the public library. He'd get a book or two, and my sister might find one or two, and I'd walk out with ten. My parents let us stay home alone during the long summers while they worked (and we didn't need a babysitter), so I'd read all day. Sure, we watched TV and did art projects... mostly I read. I kept up this reading pace through middle school when I finally ran out of books.

High school and college took up more of my time academically and musically. I wasn't quite old enough to read adult books while in high school--couldn't relate very well to the characters. One genre that fascinated me was war history. I read everything by Stephen E. Ambrose in a few short weeks, and I've since purchased several of his books. Shakespeare bores me, and I've never been able to get into the classics. And to be honest, I don't think I ever finished a required book for a college class...

About this time, I began my search for those books that shaped my childhood, those books that I first read in fourth and fifth grade that stayed with me. These books I highly recommend in no particular order:
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.
  • Apples in the Sky by C. M. McDade (Oregon author)
  • Shabanu and Haveli by Suzanne Fisher Staples
  • The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
  • Locadio's Apprentice by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (out of print, can't find it anywhere!)
  • The Clay Marble by Minfong Ho
  • On to Oregon by Honoré Morrow
  • Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
  • The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
  • Canyons by Gary Paulsen
  • The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks
  • Down River and River Thunder by Will Hobbs
  • On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  • Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
  • Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
  • The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson and Donna Diamond
  • Are You There God, it's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (Oregon author)
  • Kavïk the Wolf Dog by Walt Morey (Oregon author)
Of course, those are just a few... my bookcases (plural, and I'm only a twenty-something) are overflowing with good books. :)

1 comment:

Jeff W said...

I haven't read all of those but the ones that I have I enjoyed. Watership Down is one of my favorites too.